Although a full and open competition is still in the works, the Army will buy 1,500 more manpack radios from its current supplier to meet an urgent need.
The Global Response Force of the service’s 82nd Airborne Division needs the radios, according to the Army. The increase in the low-rate initial production (LRIP) authorization brings the number of radios to be purchased under the contract to 5,426, less than 8 percent of the total acquisition objective.
General Dynamics C4 manufactures the manpack radio, a portable communications system that is part of the Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (JTRS HMS)program. The Rifleman, another radio in the JTRS HMS program, is handheld.
The Army had originally planned a single acquisition for each of the JTRS versions, but changed its strategy in November. The new strategy, announced by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., rather than the Army, is to award multiple contracts to multiple vendors for each type of radio.
“The Army is finalizing the actions necessary to conduct a full and open competition, open to all industry partners, for the Full Rate Production (FRP) phase of the HMS Manpack program,” the Army said in a statement released Dec. 12.
The LRIP increase is needed to meet operational needs until the competition is complete, according to the statement.